Argentina’s former president: Bush once claimed, ‘the best way to revitalize the economy is war’

By Stephen C. Webster
Saturday, May 29, 2010 14:10 EDT
google plus icon
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

Legendary filmmaker Oliver Stone is by no means done exploring the administration of George W. Bush.

While producing new material for his upcoming documentary “South of the Border,” which explores the history of political and social movements in Latin America, Stone sat down to interview former Argentina president Néstor Kirchner.

The subject inevitably turned to George W. Bush, the subject of Stone’s creative nonfiction feature “W”. In front of a film crew, Kirchner confided to Stone that the former U.S. president once directly told him, “The best way to revitalize the economy is war.”

“We had a discussion in Monterrey. I said that a solution for the problems right now, I told Bush, is a Marshall Plan,” he claimed to have suggested. “And he got angry. He said the Marshall Plan is a crazy idea of the Democrats. He said the best way to revitalize the economy is war, and that the United States has grown stronger with war.”

Asked to clarify, Kirchner added: “He said that. Those were his exact words.”

Stone looked aghast, one finger gouging his left eye as if it pained him to hear the confession.

“Was he suggesting that South America go to war?” the director asked.

“Well, he was talking about the United States,” Kirchner replied. “The Democrats had been wrong. All of the economic growth of the United States had been encouraged by the various wars.”

“It is worth noting that despite the prosecution of two major wars, there was very minimal net job growth during Bush’s tenure as president,” Think Progress added. “And of course, he bequeathed an economy that suffered massive job losses in his wake.”

When it was first announced, Stone’s “South of the Border” was characterized as “controversial” due to the director’s public statements on Venezuela leader Hugo Chavez.

“I think he’s an extremely dynamic and charismatic figure,” he’s quoted as saying. “He’s open and warmhearted and big, and a fascinating character.”

“Never has a revolutionary strongman seemed so lovable and cuddly,” National Public Radio summarized. “And Stone, the man who became famous for questioning the official story, never leaves Chavez’s embrace. Stone never asks a hard question. (Instead, he tosses out “Do you have any fun?” and “What time did you get to sleep last night?”) Stone never brings up anything controversial. There is no talk about how Chavez revoked the licenses of private TV and radio stations. There is never any mention of the human rights concerns raised by Amnesty International. Stone never talks to any Venezuelan citizen about the leader.

“Stone gives the same kid-glove treatment to Chavez’s allies. He plays soccer with the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales. He asks the president of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, how many shoes she owns.”

Time called “South of the Border” a “near sibling” to Michael Moore’s recent production, “Capitalism: A Love Story.”

The film is set to hit U.S. theaters late June.

This video was published to YouTube by user southoftheborderdoc on May 28, 2010.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
and to abide by our commenting policy.